Event helps student to ‘live out loud and proud’

Event helps student to 'live out loud and proud'

by Mark RodgersGuest Columnist

On Friday, February 13, five members of the Simpson LGBTQA packed into a small van and travelled to Bloomington, Ind. for the 2009 Mid-Western Bi-sexual, Lesbian, Gay, Transgender, Ally College Conference. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to attend, and I can honestly say the event was one of the most inspiring and enjoyable events I have partaken in as a Simpson student.

The trifle of weekend activities were crammed full of guest speakers, workshops and gender bending drag artists.

There was surely something for everyone. Controversial guest speaker LZ Granderson, an openly gay columnist for ESPN, had a great deal to say about race, gender and politics in the sporting world. Kand McQueen destroyed any firm ideas that a two-sex paradigm is either natural or normative. Workshops opened up hot topics concerning hip-hop and homophobia, defining bi-sexuality and queer Christianity, to name a few.

I found it hard not to be moved by the young people my age proudly refusing to get in line with gender categories and instead proclaiming their own queer claim over their identity.

“I’m transgender from male to female. And I go by female pronouns, thank you,” said one beautiful girl from Illinois that I had the pleasure of meeting. If I forget everything else, I will always hold dear the number of inspiring young Americans seizing the queer identities they feel are truly theirs.

“Well, I guess I’m a pan-sexual lesbian,” claimed a girl from Chicago. “Accept or reject us” was the message. We’re redefining everything about gender and sexuality. I had to get with the terms and the times or be left behind, plain and confused.

As the weekend came to a close, the legendary Saturday night party was opening its doors. An unabashed mix of everything was going down, from Dorothy drag to moshing and Priscilla pop to party politics.

As the candy colored lights dimmed and the music died, I felt empowered by the weekend. I returned to Simpson with a deep desire to get active within my own queer and allied community and to inspire others with what I had learned. The main message was that it’s time to live out loud – and proud!